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Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale Ale

Posted: |27 Sep 2014|, 22:30
by somearelakes
Hello forum,

I ran into a problem with my first batch of beer and I'm looking for advice so I don't have a repeat of the problem.

I brewed my first batch of beer a few weeks ago. It was a American Pale Ale malt kit. Except for a bit of a hop boil over, everything went pretty smoothly. We bottled everything a week ago after 20 days in the fermenter. Our readings showed 5.5%ABV and the sample we took to measure the final gravity tasted pretty good!

However, we opened a bottle today and what was supposed to be delightful american pale ale tasted like a disappointing Belgium style beer.

Key point: While the beer was in the fermenter here in Toronto with the air-conditioning off, we were in the Yukon. I know for a fact that the temperature got up to about 85degrees, and according to my googling, this will have caused the yeast to make some unwelcome esters that are causing the unwelcome Belgium-ish flavours.

If my APA got too hot (80f-ish) in the fermenter, would that result in nearly undrinkable "Belgium beer" tastes caused by esters (whatever that/those are), and will further bottle conditioning make it go away?

I hope that makes sense. I really want to try again, but I'm not $45 confident that I have figured out what went wrong.

Thanks in advance for any insight/advice.

Re: Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale

Posted: |28 Sep 2014|, 00:26
by Nobbyipa
i think you do know?? :stirpot:
i very rarely ferment above 18C 64.4F for apa's

you need to sort out temperature control

easiest way is a sodden towel wrapped round your fermenter this won't get it to 18c but will cool it a bit
2 other things can contribute to producing ester

Yeast Pitch Rate and Esters

A way to control ester production is by varying your pitch rate. If you under-pitch yeast (i.e. don’t pitch enough yeast for your volume of wort) the yeast will reproduce rapidly during the short lag phase. Rapidly reproducing yeast enhances AAT (alcohol acetate transferase) production and subsequently produces more esters in the finished beer.
Pitching enough yeast (or even overpitching) will result in less ester production.

Oxygenation of Wort and Esters

Also you can reduce esters by properly oxiginating your wort. During the growth phase, the yeast will actually consume ACOA (acetyl coenzyme ) which is a precursor of ester production to reproduce. However this only continues until the yeast run out of oxygen. So if you properly oxygenate your wort it will reduce overall ester production. Conversely if you under-oxygenate your wort it will actually enhance ester production in the finished beer.

or build a brew fridge with stc1000 one of the most important bits of kit

Re: Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale

Posted: |29 Sep 2014|, 17:22
by somearelakes
Cool setup and thanks you for your response.

We just pitched the yeast that came in the box and didn't do anything (on purpose) to oxygenate the wort at all, so that gives me something to study this weekend.

We're going to hook up a old fridge and get a Anycontrol AC-211 Heat+Cool Temperature Controller hooked up - hopefully all put together we'll get an okay batch.

Again, thanks!!

Re: Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale

Posted: |29 Sep 2014|, 18:09
by Nobbyipa
tips for next brew
1 make sure your yeast is well aerated

pitch the correct amount of yeast if dry yeast rehydrate


Yeast rehydration

Firstly you need to use the correct amount of water, not wort or a sugar solution but normal tap water . . . preferably water with a medium to high mineral content. The reason for this is simple, when you add a dehydrated yeast cell into a solution it rapidly absorbs liquid, but the yeast membrane is not selective at this stage and allows 'everything' and 'anything' across the membrane, including all those sugars and minerals. This can cause extreme osmotic stress to the poor yeast cell as it tries to wake up, and it will either end up poorly or could even explode and die, not a good result really, so just medium to high mineral content water.

Secondly the right amount of liquid should be used . . . Fermentis suggest using 10 times the weight of water as yeast, so an 11g sachet of yeast needs 110g of water (which is as near as dammit 110ml), 100g of yeast needs 1000ml

Thirdly, the water, after boiling to ensure sterilization, needs to be at the correct temperature, and this varies for variety to variety. Nottingham for example needs to be at 36C . . . Fermentis Saflager W34/70 needs 21-25C, . . . SO4 needs 25-29C. Lallemand report a 20% loss in viability compared with rehydrating at 30C instead of 36C . . . and if you are close the limit for under pitching this could be an important factor. DO NOT guess the temperature! Use a thermometer! This is one of the easiest things to do, and guessing wrong will almost certainly kill your yeast.

Fourthly, Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the cooled water and stir gently to mix it in . . . I know it just says sprinkle it on and leave it . . . but you need to stir it to mix it in, (I actually use my stir plate while pouring the yeast into the sterile conical flask), and then leave it to stand (covered) to rehydrate usually 15-30 minutes depending on variety, (Lallemand say 15, Fermentis 30).

Fifthly, as you are filling the FV with cooled wort, give the yeast another stir, and pour it into the Fermenter.

keep bugs and dirt out

get a brew fridge or some sort of temperature control

ferment at lower temps

and you'll get a cracking brew


Re: Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale

Posted: |07 Oct 2014|, 20:10
by somearelakes
Thank you so much for your help!

I rehydrated the yeast and I've got the carboy in the fridge @68f now.

Re: Fermenter Temperature Issues: or Accidental Belgium Pale

Posted: |30 Oct 2014|, 01:42
by somearelakes
I just wanted to say thanks again.

We bottled the next batch a week ago. We opened up a bottle to give it a try.

So, thanks two times :)